Delhi: India has some 8.6 lakh female sex workers with Andhra Pradesh topping the list at a maximum 1.56 lakh women involved in the trade while Delhi has about 61,000 of them.
TOI citing the health and family ministry said that Karnataka and Maharashtra have third and fourth highest number of female sex workers.
The figures were released by the ministry in response to a RTI application filed by Delhi resident Ved Pal. The estimate is based on a study conducted in 2009.
The report also said that about 19% of the sex workers were unregistered.
"Total number of registered sex workers is 6.96 lakh as per information from state AIDS control societies. This number is based on the line listing of targeted interventions in the states and it may change as per the new registrations," the ministry said in its reply.
The ministry said that it's not mandatory for sex workers to register themselves under its intervention programme the National Aids Control Organisation.
The facilities provided to sex workers by the central and state governments under the programme include behaviour change communication through counselling, treatment of sexually transmitted infection, condom promotion and free distribution. It also provides services like enabling environment, linkages and referrals.